In early 2012, the two Gulf powerhouses, which are frequently political rivals, were instrumental in setting up a secretive group that operated something like a command center in Istanbul, with representatives from across Syria tasked with funneling free and vital military supplies through Turkey (with the help of Turkish intelligence and Western backing) and across the border into Syria. [...] A rift in the command center between Qatar and Saudi Arabia emerged in August of last year, with the Saudi and Qatari representatives backing different factions from among the plethora of armed groups on the ground in Syria.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in particular, believe that a friendly regime in Syria will give them influence over Shia-dominated Baghdad, over whom they have had little sway, but which is seen as a critical player in the regional balance of power. [...] A Sunni state in Syria could serve to strengthen currently marginalised Iraqi Sunni forces, giving them – and their Gulf backers – greater influence in Baghdad. At the same time, regime change in Damascus would help the Gulf states bolster their standing in Lebanon, already economically dependent on the Gulf, by strengthening pro-Sunni Gulf actors at the expense of the dominant pro-Assad Hezbollah movement.
Hassan Hassan en “Syria: the view from the Gulf states”
Using the information I had gathered they [New York Times] were able to approach officials in a number of governments and get them to go on record about a smuggling operation run by the Saudis, with the knowledge of the US government, where they purchased arms from the Croatian government, flew them to Jordan, and smuggled them across the Syrian border to the Free Syrian Army. This was the first time a major arms route to the opposition had been recorded and exposed, and a lot of people started to take notice of what I was doing on my blog.
“Moses Brown” en “How I Accidentally Became An Expert On The Syrian Conflict”
The White House announced in June that it would provide limited military support for vetted rebel groups, which have recently been struggling in their campaign against President Bashar al-Assad. Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees have expressed concerns that arms could end up in the hands of Islamist militants fighting in the region – or not do enough to tip the balance in the civil war. [...] For now, a limited policy of supplying small arms to rebel groups appears to be as far as the Obama administration will go. The top US military officer warned senators on Monday that taking military action to stop the bloodshed in Syria was likely to escalate quickly and result in “unintended consequences”.